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PHIL 2101 January 21, 2014.docx

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PHIL 2101
Gordon Davis

Nicomachean ethics: end of all things -Ch. 4, book I, Aristotle •There is one purpose that we all serve, but we don't know what it is •Happiness and what is happiness: compares different types of lives, o Life of pleasure, happiness If a "Unity" of virtue Then WISDOM is key o Makes virtue either teachable (in Protagoras) or Knowable (see memo) o Hit-and-miss "midwifery" o Key to happiness •Means to and end, In Protagoras, instrumentality, instrumental to something like virtue which is one •Philosophers try to crystallise dilemma o 5 and 1 cases, killed 5 to save one • Ex. If you have to go only one island while the tide is coming in and you can save the island with only 1 or 5 people, which would you go to o Is it your decision to kill people though? • Action vs. inaction • Dwells on the idea -> would you push one stranger to save others?  Question of what you would do vs. what you should do.  It is a psychological question • Bringing us back to the Greeks -> only your weight would be sufficient -> would you jump to save the 5 people? o Idea of not just moral rightness, but heroism o Heroism is the means, ends, calculation • Aristotle talks about the use of mean "mean" in the sense of medium o Finding a middle point between emotional extremes is ethnically valuable • Why does he think that?  There is no doctrine of the mean -> mean is not more important than a mean or extreme •Greek words help foster your understanding for the English language o Eudaimonia -> Happiness (Eu -> meaning you) o Arete -> aristo or aristocracy -> meaning the best o Telos -> aiming or directing or transporting something o Psuche -> psyche, phycology o Ergon -> ergometer , rowing machine o Logos -> Reasoning/'rational principle' [rule] logic, logarithms o Kalos -> noble/fine, beautiful, kalosethtics •Use these words and relate them to see Aristotle's overall account of statics •Which of these definitions accounts for the other? •Plato gains credit; almost unheard of that men and women should be equal in society before his writing o That is what he states in the Republic o Astonishing because we do not know where it came form, except for the possibility that it comes from Diotima o To write down in one of his most famous works that men and women should be equal is remarkable • Must have been open minded, get the sense form all the Greeks that they may have been racist  Racist against everyone, really, definitely against Blonde Europeans, uncouth, hairy, axe-wielding lunatics  All these people are essentially inferior • Sometimes they admired the freedom loving part of these crazy loving people for better or worst o Plato was definitely different o Aristotle was Macedonian -> Macedonians were around the zone where the Greeks met and the 'scary' part of the Europeans, they weren't counted as Greek, though they spoke a kind of Greek language • Plato gave them full rights within the Academy (His own academy) • Some people think Plato was authoritarian • Was hierarchical and not democratic o Are democratic, there is some sort of value on free speech, long explanation of what is wrong with pirates o Criticizes tyranny • Not as narrow minded about things like poetry and religion • May have been squished into the Pythagorean cult, may have had an interest in mystical forces o In the Republic, book 4, there is a famous division of the soul • Does not think of just immaterial intellect and physical body  Believes that the soul includes 3 elements  Intellect and use of reason  Passion and emotion  Appetite, part of organic nature with impact on our mental life o Some part of Plato's ideal is to bring the 3 parts into harmony, interpretive problem • Why we should see passion as something in between and not just reducible to appetite • Aristotle tries to incorporate all these different aspects of the soul in a slightly different way • Cleaner divide between intellect and everything else Discussion of the Unity of Virtue -> Aristotle and Plato disagree o Socrates initially voices equating the different virtues that deal with their opposites being the same • Argument that can be challenged o 4 themes of Protagoras, [taylor translate virtue (Greek
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